HOME presents

The Oresteia

We have poured out the blood
That poisoned this house.

Terrible secrets are handed down through the generations in a bloody chain of murder and revenge. The Oresteia, the first great work of theatre written two and a half thousand years ago, is as gripping and relevant as ever. Where is justice in a landscape of blood?

Taking the translation by one of the great poets of the twentieth century, Ted Hughes, this swift-moving, newly cut version radically condenses Aeschylus’ epic trilogy into one play.

HOME welcomes director Blanche McIntyre (Best Director TMA 2013 UK Theatre Awards; Critics’ Circle Most Promising Newcomer Award), with an ensemble of actors playing multiple roles that cross generations and genders.

★★★★ “Blanche McIntyre’s innovative [production] spotlights the chorus in a welcome, ritualistic reinvention.” – The Guardian

★★★★★ “Staging any of the theatre’s most enduring classics is an exercise fraught with danger, but in this violent and visionary re-telling of Aeschylus’s great masterpiece, HOME has certainly lived up to the challenge. Imaginative, exciting… ” – Northern Soul

★★★ “A beautifully sculpted and boldly austere staging, both modern and alien, close and distant, preserving classical traditions while deploying local citizens to play the chorus. It has a compelling clarity.” – The Financial Times

★★★ “Director Blanche McIntyre, with designers Laura Hopkins (set and costumes) and Lee Curran (lighting), here creates high-impact images for Ted Hughes’s version of Aeschylus’s Oresteia.” – The Observer

★★★★ “Unflinchingly provocative for today’s audiences… The play’s challenge to ancient power and its appeal to the people demonstrate the impeccable timeliness of HOME’s production… Sharply relevant.”  – The Skinny

★★★- “short, sharp and coolly shocking – an interval-free 105 minutes of precisely sliced dramatic meat and gristle… Involving, intelligent and speaks clearly and directly to our own troubled times.”  The Times (behind a paywall)

★★★★ “Hughes’ language is bold and concise and McIntyre’s direction gives a powerful hit of sharpened stage imagery.” – Upstaged Manchester

“A fierce and bravura piece of theatre, full of sound and fury, a treat for the ears and the eyes, by turns funny and horrifying… The speed with which the action passes and the quality of the words and the performances left this viewer feeling it would benefit from repeated viewings. If that isn’t a strong recommendation, we don’t know what is.” – The Manchester Review

“A fascinating production… it really, really works. The acting is uniformly strong, but it’s the chorus that stands out. An accomplished piece of theatre, and excellent to watch.” – Bouquets & Brickbats

“An ambitious production… visually impressive. Simon Trinder does a great double-turn as Orestes and Aegisthus.” – British Theatre Guide

“HOME has chosen yet another challenging play to shock and revive our social conscience. An ambitious production.” – Culture Review Manchester

“Pared down and intelligent. Lyndsey Marshall’s Clytemnestra is like a tiny fire.” – The Stage

“Blanche McIntyre gives us a string of sharp stage pictures.” – What’s On Stage

“Admirably clear and down to earth… Beautifully presented in a manner that makes clear the classic themes remain relevant in our present-day.” – The Reviews Hub

“The Chorus of local people are significant in the production and its programme. This is, after all, an epic about individuals and society; through it, Manchester confirms its civic status in its newest artistic home.” – Reviewsgate

“The Furies are wonderfully played… there are moments of true brilliance.” – Quiet Man Dave

“It is the use of the community chorus that’s HOME’s trump card.” – Creative Tourist

“This is a play designed to provoke discussion and involve the community quite literally on the stage… An interesting and well produced piece.” – The Good Review

“One of the most noteworthy aspects of this play is the use of the chorus… There is a direct sense of involvement, heightening the audience’s relation with the characters on stage… The show’s design and smart use of the chorus make for an exquisite and accessible demonstration of Aeschylus’s mastery of Greek tragedy ” – Mancunion

“Lyndsey Marshal [is] frightening and vengeful as Clytemnestra. The emotion spews out of her like a volcano, her character consumed with hatred for the husband who sacrificed their daughter for the sake of the safe passage of his military fleet.” – Sale and Altrincham Messenger

“The play is, although bloody in parts, a great adaption of a classical text and left a lasting impact.” – Mancunian Matters

“Director Blanche McIntyre imbues it all with a raw and elemental style… Laura Hopkins’ stage design utilises this venue’s abundant technology and creates moments of effective power…” – Lancashire Evening Post

“What was special about this production was that you became immersed in the drama from the very start. There was an immediacy; right from the get-go you were an involved witness in the unfolding tragedy.” – Jildy Sauce

“You don’t have to be a Professor of Classics to appreciate this ancient story and its effects on our lives, even today.” – Remote Goat

The central role of the chorus – the voice of the citizens – will be taken by the people of Manchester in this stunning new production of Aeschylus’ masterpiece:

Female Chorus A: Janice Bonner, Vicky Burrows, Rachel Drabble, Sarah Jenyon, Jessica Lee, Vasilikey Kapsalos, Katherine McDermott, Gwen Pugh, Megan Relph, Barbara Stafford, Judy Sykes, Constance Witham

Female Chorus B: Jenny Carson, Charlotte Christie, Vicky Cosgrove, Leanne Frank, Susan Holden, Gillian Marsh, Joan McGee, Poppy Olah, Steph Reynolds, Esther Routledge, Clare Stuart

Male Chorus A: Vincent Dugdale, Steve Haslam, Jon Massey, Ciarán Mitchell, Anthony Morris, Alan Sykes, John Sweeney

Male Chorus B: Tony Cocker, Andy Hughes, Peter Jacobs, Sebastian May, Paul John O’Neill, Dave Ramsden, Valentinos Thomos

MMU Chorus Company 1: Comfort Fabian, Barney Healy-Smith, Hannah Lawrie, Catriona McFarlane, Holly-Robyn Harrison, Stephanie Houtman, Ellie Jackson, Declan O’Connor, Teresa Padden-Evans

MMU Chorus Company 2: Tyler Conti, James Eken, Gina Fillingham, Farran Mitchell, Arushka Pollard, Harriet Poole, Michael Priestley

Listen to what people have said so far about The Oresteia:

 

 

Event details

After the performance on Fri 13 Nov, join us for a post-show panel discussion. The panel will include the show’s director, Blanche McIntyre, Dr Roberta Mazza (Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History University of Manchester) and Dr Andreja Zevnik (Lecturer in International Politics, University of Manchester).

Presented in association with CIDRAL, University of Manchester, with Francesca Billiani as chair.